Even a well-seasoned traveler like myself has forgotten things to pack or found myself in a jam after arriving somewhere. Some or all of these tips might seem like common sense to you but they are also the ones that people forget or leave till the last minute.
- Water– Picking up a bottle of water before you board the plane is a must. Not only do you need to stay hydrated while flying but there have been many times I have sat on the tarmac with no one allowed to leave their seats and I have been grateful I had my big bottle of water with me.
- Meds– This is an absolute must and one that you should double check before you zip up your suitcase. More than once I have thrown my meds in with my other stuff without thinking. Your meds, even over the counter ones should be in your carry-on bag.
- Timing– During the holidays please do not stick to the “hour before” rule for domestic and “two hours” for international. Get there early and camp out if you need to but give yourself a lot of time. Parking is especially horrible during the holiday season, as is check in.
- Uber– Which brings me to this next tip. Do not wait till the morning of to try and get an Uber. Set your pick up time the day before. Also, I laugh to myself when I see people scrambling on my neighborhood app looking for rides the day before a 5 am flight. Everyone is busy during the holiday season so set up your airport transport well in advance.
- Pets– I’m guilty as charged on this one. I have waited until the last minute to secure my pet sitter only to find out she will not be in town and guess what? The boarders were full and I was left frantically searching for a cat sitter. If we have a steady pet sitter, we take for granted he or she will always be there for us but that isn’t always the case, so check with him or her early.
- Glasses– Unless this has happened to you, I bet you have not thought of it. I was on a long flight and was shifting things around in my seat and inadvertently sat on my glasses and broke them. I spent the entire flight wearing broken glasses in order to read my book. Lesson learned: bring two pairs of glasses with you on the plane.
- Dogs– I understand the need for therapy dogs and I am a firm supporter of them but here is my soap box speech for today. I know of several people who have abused this just so they can keep their dogs with them. We all love our pets and yes, the cargo hold is probably not the Hilton for them, but be mindful of your fellow passengers. There are people on planes who are fearful of dogs or allergic. If you do not medically need your dog with you, please make other arrangements for him and if you do need him with you, please, please keep him by your side.
- Toll Pass– If your mode of transport for the holidays is driving, these next two tips are for you. Depending on the state in which you are driving through you might need a toll pass because without one, you will be charged a toll and a hefty admin fee for each toll you go through without a pass. Be aware, depending on where you buy it, you might not be able to use it till the next day. For example, I bought one at a grocery store while traveling and even though it was activated, I was told it would not be usable till 6 am the following day. Consequently, it did me no good.
- Guns– For those of you that adhere to the Second Amendment, be up to date on the states that do not allow guns. That means you cannot drive through that state with a gun even if it is not your final destination.
Debbie Martinez is a Miami Dade resident and Travel Editor for The Florida Villager. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.